ture priorities of historians and social scientists may lie in this area.
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Hobson, John A., [ 1902] 1988. Imperialism: A Study. 3d ed. Lon- don: Unwin Hyman.
Khoo Kay Kim, 1972. The Western Malay States 1850-73: The Effects of Commercial Development on Malay Politics. Kuala Lumpur, Maylaya: Oxford University Press.
Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich,  1978. Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Reprint. Moscow: Progress Publishers.
Mun, Thomas,  1964. England's Treasure from Foreign Trade. Reprinted in Oxford: Blackwell.
O'Connor, J., 1970. "The Meaning of Economic Imperialism". In Robert I. Rhodes, ed., Imperialism and Underdevelopment: A Reader. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Said, Edward, 1993. Culture and Imperialism London: Chatto and Windus.
Schumpeter, Joseph, 1919. The Sociology of Imperialisms. Reprinted in Joseph Schumpeter, 1951. Imperialism and Social Classes pp. 3-130. New York: Augustus M. Kelley.
Searle, G. R., 1971. The Quest for National Efficiency. Oxford: Blackwell.
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Wehler, Hans Ulrich, 1985. The German Empire 1871-1918. Leamington Spa: Berg.
IMPERIALISM, ECONOMIC. Economic domination of one state by another; a general description of several theories that explain imperial expansion as an economically motivated phenomenon. Historians and social scientists tend to identify the term with the work of three analysts of imperialism: Hobson, Marx, and Lenin, but others have also subsequently contributed to this body of work, and some of their ideas have been summarized elsewhere. The preceding entry (see imperialism) has provided background knowledge of the wider issues of imperialism. This entry focuses on the work of Karl Marx, V. I. Lenin, and John A. Hobson. (Note that some of the main criticisms of their work and later contributions to their views are outlined in the imperialism entry.)
Although Karl Marx ( 1974) himself did not develop a specific theory of economic imperialism, his theory about the nature of capitalism did provide the basis for others to construct a model. It is therefore necessary to summarize Marx's ideas before outlining how V. I. Lenin derived his explanation of the emerging struggle between the imperialist powers in the early twentieth century.
Marx argued that the way in which wealth was produced was the determining factor in human social and historical development. Political and social power throughout history were held by the social groups (classes) that owned the means of producing wealth. Thus, in the preindustrial feudal societies of Europe, it was the landed aristocracy (personified by the monarch) who were the dominant social group. Their command over the means of producing wealth (agriculture) provided the wealth needed to maintain the military prowess required to sustain their authority. From this economic basis of power sprang social and religious institutions and a value system that legitimized aristocratic domination.
In the long run, growing agricultural surpluses, increasing purchasing power, and expanding trade promoted the emergence of new forms of wealth production. The growth of commerce (both international and domestic) increased the wealth of merchants and encouraged them to develop new technologies of production, a cumulative process that propelled, first, Britain and, then, the world economy into industrial capitalist development. The owners of this new means of producing wealth (the bourgeoisie) were ultimately able to challenge and supplant the aristocratic elite, ushering in a new epoch in which the bourgeoisie established itself as the dominant class, over a new class of urbanized industrial labor (the proletariat).
For Marx, the ultimate source of capitalist profit lay in the intense exploitation of the proletariat. The capitalist owned the means of production and the proletarian was forced by necessity to sell his labor on disadvantageous terms. Marx believed that the ultimate source of value of commodities was the quantity of labor it took to bring them into existence, and the capitalist secured his profit by effectively paying his workers less than the full value of their labor. Profit was thus surplus value extracted by the capitalist.
Early industrial capitalism was characterized by smallscale enterprises, with limited capital resources, engaged in cutthroat competition with each other. This fierce competition compelled capitalists constantly to seek ways of reducing costs of production (and therefore prices of their finished output) and improving the quality and desirability of the finished product. Competition was thus a prime motivator of an unprecedented degree of technological innovation designed to gain advantage in the market. Marx argued that this high rate of technological development -- especially in the techniques of production -- would lead in the long run to a falling profit rate. This result was possible because the costs of technological innovation would grow